Richmondshire’s 10 biggest stories of 2021

There’s been lots happening in and around Richmondshire in 2021 — and not all of it has been about Covid.

There’s been plenty of positives — events such as the Wensleydale Show taking place again after being cancelled in 2020, improvements to the road network including the reopening of a Swaledale bridge washed away in the 2019 floods and communities continuing to come together to help those in need through the pandemic.

Over the year, Richmondshire Today has attempted to document this good news, as well as the bad and downright strange stories, as best we can.

And it’s been a busy year on the site with more than three million page views from 900,000 unique users on the website. Quite where they all come from we don’t know!

The following are the ten most read articles over the year:

10) The tenth most popular article on the website was a piece from April on a police crackdown on post-lockdown traffic offences. A dozen officers from North Yorkshire Police’s road policing team and ANPR camera unit spent the day in the district. The crackdown was called Operation Boundary because police said the aim was to remind motorists of the boundaries of using the county’s roads. Richmondshire Today spent the morning with two officers on patrol in a high-speed pursuit car in Wensleydale. The officers stopped a number of motorists in the district during the day, including a tractor driver who was spotted talking on his mobile phone while driving in Wensleydale. Read it here.

9) A rare coin featuring the face of William the Conqueror discovered by an amateur archaeologist at Richmond Castle in July attracted readers from all over the country. The silver penny was dug up at the castle during a dig which took place as part of Richmond’s 950th anniversary celebrations. It was unearthed by Richmond resident Jenny Reid-Young who was taking part in her first archaeologist dig. Read it here.

The coin featuring the face of William the Conqueror.

8) Good news stories were very popular in 2021 with the tale of Toby the cockatiel’s safe return being well read. Toby turned up seven days later 12 miles away after flying out of an open at the Richmond home of Lulu Fidler. Read it here.

7) A feature on two Dutch visitors to the Dales, who were rescued after getting stuck in a snow storm in Swaledale, was the seventh most read article over the year. Aged just 19 and 20, Rolph and Rien were classic car enthusiasts and planned to visit as many dealerships as it took to find a 1950s Jaguar during the visit in March 1979. However, they came unstuck when travelling over the Pennines to Cumbria. If they were not found by farmer Clifford Harker, out checking on his sheep, it is likely they would have perished. Read it here.

Rolph and Rien’s car, driven back to the point where they’d got stuck.

6) A report on the fire at the Bilsdale transmitter, on the North York moors, which knocked out TV signal for more than a million people across the region for several months, was the sixth most read article. Read it here.

5) More than 10,000 people read an article about two walkers had to be rescued from the summit of Ingleborough after travelling to the Yorkshire Dales from Rochdale when there were restrictions on travel in April. At the time, police said they had already turned numerous out-of-area visitors away from the beauty spot. Despite the government advising the public to stay at home and stay local, the man and woman had travelled into the area to take some exercise. Arriving ill-equipped for the climb, they got into difficultly at the top of the peak and had lost their way due to low lying fog, ice and snow. Read it here.

Ingleborough. Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

4) A story from June on a Catterick Garrison woman in training to swim the English Channel for charity who was joined by a pod of dolphins was the fourth most read article. Verity Green was photographed while swimming in the sea at Roker, near Sunderland. The advanced physiotherapist, who works for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, later successfully swam the Channel to raise money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, a charity which has helped her. Read it here.

3) A terribly sad article on the death of popular young farmer and stocksperson Hannah Brown, who died in March aged 26 after an illness, was read by more than 15,000 people. Hannah grew up on the farm of her parents, Martin and Val Brown, at Beechwood House, Newton-le-Willows. She attended Crakehall Primary School and then Bedale High School. Tributes from across the agricultural world were paid to Hannah. Read it here.

Hannah Brown at the Great Yorkshire Show in 2019. Photo: Wayne Hutchinson/

2) The fire at the Bilsdale TV transmitter appears again the list as the second most read article. The story provided an update on the situation with engineers announcing that temporary equipment would be used to restore services. Read it here.

1) And finally the most read article on Richmondshire Today in 2021 was… a story on a restraining order issued to protect a retired racehorse from the unwanted attentions of a grandmother who refused to stop feeding him carrots. In a ruling rarely – if ever – passed by a British court, the horse was afforded legal protection from over-feeding after prosecutors made the application to magistrates on his behalf. Margaret Porter, 67, from Northallerton Road, Leeming Bar, thought Nelson the chestnut gelding was “sad looking” and came to the view that he was under-fed so began giving him carrots despite being explicitly asked not to by his owner. Read it here.

Nelson the retired racehorse was fed carrots. Photo: Glen Minikin.

Happy New Year from Richmondshire Today!